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Partnership targets sustainable decommissioning of energy and mining infrastructure

Original article published on the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology

Researchers involved in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology’s (FEIT) Recovered Resources Initiative are pleased to announce that the Faculty is forging a new partnership with the Centre of Decommissioning Australia (CODA).

CODA is an independent initiative working with industry, government and the community to create a collaborative and sustainable approach to decommissioning Australia’s aging oil and gas infrastructure. Its research shows there is more than US$40 billion of decommissioning work necessary over the coming 50 years in Australia’s offshore oil and gas industry alone – over half of which needs to start within the next decade.

The mission to develop solutions to recover and repurpose industrial and domestic waste streams is well aligned with CODA, an organisation dedicated to growing a world-class oil and gas decommissioning industry in Australia.

Part of that goal is supporting the development of new solutions, markets and supply chains for the decommissioning waste streams.

With a growing global emphasis on transitioning towards cleaner energy sources, the multidisciplinary Recovered Resources Initiative team are focussed on repurposing and reusing decommissioned oil and gas infrastructure so that valuable resources can be recovered and redirected to support the renewable energy sector.

The Recovered Resources Initiative integrates the expertise across a range of disciplines that are directly relevant to decommissioning of facilities, including structural health monitoring and assessment, re-purposing / optimising the use of existing infrastructure, modelling and design of new infrastructure using recovered materials, while aiming to reduce carbon emissions.

The Recovered Resources Initiative’s Research Director and Senior Research Fellow in FEIT’s Department of Infrastructure Engineering, Dr Massoud Sofi recognises the importance of collaboration with industry and regulators.

“The Faculty is keen to create practical, low-carbon solutions that can effectively combat climate change and are customised to address the present urgent needs. Close collaboration with relevant industry is essential to progress,” Dr Sofi said.

The Recovered Resources Initiative will leverage its expertise in resource recovery and upcycling to identify valuable materials within decommissioned infrastructure. By applying innovative techniques, these recovered resources could potentially be redirected towards the construction and expansion of renewable energy projects.

CODA’s General Manager Dr Shaun Sadler said that programs such as the Recovered Resources Initiative can influence future decommissioning outcomes by identifying new, pragmatic solutions over relevant industry timeframes.

“The Recovered Resources Initiative’s focus on a wide range of potential alternative pathways for decommissioning waste, and their strong background in understanding the needs of the energy industry mean that they are well placed to support the development of the decommissioning sector here in Australia,” Dr Sadler said.